27 Jun 2020

Deportees set to spend isolation in same facilities as other travellers

9:33 am on 27 June 2020

New Zealanders deported from Australia will go into the same managed isolation and quarantine facilities as other arrivals.

The Navy has been posted outside a Novotel being used as a managed isolation facility in Auckland

Corrections is aware of the safety risks deportees may pose if they go into managed isolation at the same hotels as other people arriving in the country. Photo: RNZ / Chen Liu

Australia will soon start deporting New Zealanders with a criminal history or not seen as meeting a good character test again, after a hiatus caused by the lockdown.

Deportations were postponed from March, but a "small" number of individuals are currently scheduled to be returned to New Zealand.

Documents proactively released by the government yesterday included an April report to Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis on deportees.

It said that like all overseas arrivals, deportees will have to stay in managed isolation for at least 14 days.

It also said that Corrections was aware of the safety risks deportees may pose if they're put up in the same accommodation as other people arriving in the country.

But a spokesperson for the Covid-19 National Response Team said that these deportees will go into the available managed isolation or quarantine facilities.

"Where appropriate, extra security arrangements will be put in place to manage the return of deportees during their time in managed isolation, in accordance with the assessed risk and the conditions they have in place, if any," a spokesperson said.

The policy to deport New Zealanders is a point of strong contention between the two countries, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern repeatedly describing the policy as "corrosive".

On Tuesday police arrested most of the senior leaders and patched members of the Mongols motorcycle gang chapter in the Bay of Plenty.

Over 110 police staff executed search warrants at 10 properties across the region resulting in firearms, drugs, cash and vehicles being seized.

Those arrested face a total of 228 charges including participating in an organised crime group, money laundering, possession of firearms and explosives, and a raft of drugs charges.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams said the majority of them had been deported from Australia and were from one of the Bandidos chapters in Brisbane.

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